After news reports of a bar waitress alleging rape of inmates at the Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruh, a shelter home in Mankhurd, officials of the Crime Branch have recorded the statements of 58 people, including officers, staff members and women police constables posted at the centre.
The police said all the statements indicated that there was no forced entry into the shelter home and that there was no truth in the allegations of rape made by the bar waitress.
On Saturday, 23 women had escaped from the women’s shelter home and one of them, who used to work as an orchestra bar waitress, had claimed that people bearing arms had raped them inside the premises.
“She (the waitress) was among the girls who had fled from the shelter home and later claimed that girls were threatened with weapons and raped in the shelter home,” a Crime Branch officer said.
“An inquiry was initiated by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, and the Bombay High Court also took suo motu notice of the matter and served notices to various agencies, asking them to investigate the case.”
Another Crime Branch officer said the statement of the journalist who reported the waitress’ allegations had also been recorded.
“After preliminary investigations and the statements of 58 people, we have not found any truth in the allegations made by the woman,” the officer said. “We have also recorded the statement of the journalist, who claimed that he had reported what the girls had revealed to him.”
Reason for story
Given the serious nature of the allegations, the Crime Branch had formed a 10-member team to investigate the matter and is set to submit a confidential report on it.
“As of now, it doesn’t look like the girls were raped under threat of weapons because nobody has told us this; we are taking them all in confidence and then recording statements,” an officer involved in the inquiry said.
The police suspect that the waitress made up a story so the police would have sympathy towards her after absconding from the women’s shelter home.
“Mostly, after a raid the bar girls are not handed over to their bar owners even if they apply for their custody, and the authorities give custody only to parents,” an officer attached with the Govandi police station.
“As the girls are unable to bring their parents and it becomes difficult for them leave without doing so, they flee and make up such stories.”
The police said they were now searching for the woman who made the claims of rape, as her statement was very important to the case.
The police said they believed she had reached Kolkata.
Additional Commissioner of Police Niket Kaushik of the Crime Branch only said statements of 58 persons had been recorded, but he refused give more details.